The IAF received the first indigenously designed airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system, Netra, on the opening day of Aero India-2017 in Bangalore in February 2017.
In February 2017, the IAF received its first indigenously developed AEW&C system, which was installed on a Brazilian Embraer-145 jet, enhancing its capacity to identify hostile aircraft and missiles.
The DRDO created the Netra AEW&C system, which has a range of about 200 kilometres.
According to people familiar with the situation, India’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approved a proposal by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to develop new airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft for the Indian Air Force using Airbus jets purchased from Air India on Wednesday.
According to one of the executives quoted above, the project is valued at approximately 11,000 crores. It was approved alongside the long-awaited acquisition of 56 C-295 medium transport planes to replace the IAF’s ageing Avro-748 fleet. The cost of the C-295 project is expected to be $22,000 crore.
In February 2017, the IAF received its first indigenously developed AEW&C system, which was installed on a Brazilian Embraer-145 jet, enhancing its capacity to identify hostile aircraft and missiles. The DRDO created the Netra AEW&C system, which has a range of about 200 kilometres.
According to the official, the new AEW&C system, which would most likely be installed on the Airbus A321 aircraft, will be more sophisticated than the Netra system. Two Netra systems are currently in use.
Three Israeli Phalcon airborne warning and control systems (AWACS) installed on Russian IL-76 heavy-lift planes are being used by the IAF. The system has a 400-kilometre range.
Experts say to Indian Defence News that the IAF needs more of these systems to cover the eastern and western sectors during offensive operations.
The new AEW&C planes’ clearance comes at a time when the government is focusing more on developing self-reliance in the defence manufacturing sector and establishing itself as a military hardware exporter.
Under the Make-in-India effort in the aerospace industry, Airbus Defence and Space and Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) will collaborate on the C-295 project to supply the Indian Air Force with modern transport aircraft. The first 16 aircraft will be delivered in flyaway condition by Airbus, with the rest 40 being built in India by TASL.
The government has put a restriction on the import of 209 defence products during the previous year, which will be phased in from 2021 to 2025. That prohibition extends to AEW&C systems.
Over the last two years, the government has taken a number of steps to increase self-reliance in the defence sector, including increasing foreign direct investment (FDI) in defence manufacturing, creating a separate budget for buying locally made military hardware, and notifying two lists of weapons and equipment that cannot be imported.
Artillery guns, missile destroyers, ship-borne cruise missiles, light combat aircraft, long-range ground attack cruise missiles, basic trainer aircraft, certain types of helicopters, and next-generation corvettes are among the 209 weapons and systems that cannot be imported.
This year, India has put aside a total of Rs. 70,221 crore for domestic defence purchases, accounting for 63 per cent of the military’s capital budget. Last year, the ministry spent over 51,000 crores on domestic acquisitions, accounting for 58 per cent of the capital budget.